“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” Hebrews 4:12-13
I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning the other day. The hygienist said it was time for a full round of ex-rays. I’m not really a fan, and I wasn’t having any symptoms of anything wrong, but apparently I didn’t have any say in the matter as she began to shove this huge thing into my mouth and told me to bite down.
Then she proceeded to clean and polish my teeth. I was feeling good about the whole thing expecting to leave with no problems. For several years prior all my molars that were filled with decay and old fillings were replaced with crowns. My mouth had been made beautiful so this time everything should be good!
Then the doctor came in to examine my teeth. He looked at the ex-rays and noticed something. Something that wasn’t there five years ago. Something that I was completely unaware of. Something that wasn’t visible when I looked at my teeth. Something that didn’t even hurt, but there it was a shadow at the base of the root of my tooth.
There was no decay in that tooth, yet somehow infection had set in. The doctor asked if any trauma had occurred to that tooth. I didn’t know of any one time it was hit or bumped, but I did mention that I tend to clench my teeth when I’m stressed. He agreed that perhaps that was the cause of this mysterious shadow.
The dentist told me that though it was a healthy tooth the infection at the root required a root canal.
I have to admit, at first I was in denial. I was thinking to myself…
“It is a healthy tooth, how could it be infected?”
“It doesn’t hurt, why do I need to do anything?”
So I asked the doctor how long I could let it go expecting him to say several months, but he said two or three weeks.
So, as I walked out to the desk to pay the bill for my ex-rays and cleaning I wasn’t sure what to do about the root canal.
I left the dentist office feeling much different then when I walked in. Now that I saw the shadow I knew something I didn’t know before I walked into the dentist office. Something was revealed to me that needed consideration. I had a choice to make.
I realized this is the same as with the shadows of my heart.
When I sit and read the Bible, or listen to a sermon, God is as the dentist who examines my heart. His job is to care for my heart so that it is clean and healthy. He examines my heart to rid it of any decay or infection that threatens to bring harm and pain.
God uses the Light of His Word and the Power of His Holy Spirit is as an ex-ray to expose any unseen shadows of the heart!
Perhaps my heart is as my tooth, perhaps I’m walking around feeling good about all God has already done in my heart and thinking that there probably isn’t anything else that needs to be done, but I have a shadow of a sinful habit that I am unaware of.
What if the stress of every day life is slowly causing infection to grow in my heart that will eventually cause pain and suffering?
But, because I’m not a fan of the ex-ray of God’s light I avoid His penetrating truth.
Or, because I don’t think anything is wrong I don’t allow for God’s light to shine into my heart.
I’m glad I didn’t stop the hygienist from taking the ex-rays. I’m glad she didn’t give me a choice. I’m glad she did her job whether or not I felt like it was a good idea or not.
Though we have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus, and we are a new creation filled with the Holy Spirit, the stresses of life and old sinful habits can cause shadows to occur in our hearts.
When I saw the shadow at the root of my tooth I had a choice.
I could make an appointment for a root canal,
or I could ignore it.
I wanted to ignore it, but now that I had seen the shadow I became more aware. When I was outside I drew in cold air and felt a sensitivity in that tooth. When I clenched my teeth I felt a slight sensitivity in that tooth.
Once I saw, once I felt the pain, I could no longer ignore!
It took me about two weeks to choose to have the root canal.
The root canal required my healthy tooth be drilled and an implement pushed through with which the dentist ground out all the infected cells of my tooth, the root, and the surrounding tissue. All the infected cells needed to be removed. And then he poured in an antibiotic that was meant to kill off any remaining infection. Once the bad was removed, he filled the hole with a sterile plug and sealed it so that nothing else could seep in and cause another infection.
Nobody chooses to have a root canal done because they enjoy it. It is done because it is needed. There is infection and if left unattended it will cause much pain and suffering.
Why then do we ignore the shadows that the light of God’s truth exposes? Exposed shadows are not intended to bring shame, or to be ignored, but to bring awareness and to allow for permission for God to do a root canal for complete cleansing and healing.
Shadows are evidence that there is a battle going on, good cells are waging war with bad cells that are trying to take over!
God wants to remove the bad cells of old sinful habits and fears from your heart. God knows that the constant stress of fear, worry, unforgiveness, and resentment, will lead to a battle within your heart. This battle between good and evil will grow and eventually cause great pain to you and to those around you.
As God’s son or daughter, it’s His job to examine your heart and to keep it clean and healthy. When His word of truth and the power of His Holy Spirit reveals a shadow in your heart all He wants of you is to choose a spiritual root canal.
An interesting fact about my root canal; the infection separated the nerves of my tooth from my brain so I had no pain.
But, even this is an example of God’s root canal of your heart. How you think about the cleaning God wants to do in your heart will greatly affect how you respond to the pain involved in removing the bad cells.
When you realize the bad is only going to get worse and create more pain, and when you realize the bad needs to go so that the good God intends for you will bring peace to your heart, you will choose to submit to His loving hands and will be amazed at how painfree His root canal to your heart really is!